Defining the guest experience for the first Virgin Hotel
As a new entrant into to a highly competitive marketplace, Virgin’s latest target for disruption was the mid-market business hotel. How could they find a way to subvert the category and make it distinctly Virgin?
The Engine Service Deisgn Team developed a unique guest experience vision and set of services and experiences, for Virgin Hotel to inform the investment decision.
This vision was underpinned by what travellers really hated about staying in hotels and developing innovative ways to address these issues, through the provision of an exceptional and differentiated guest experience.
The first step for the Engine Service Design team was helping Virgin understand the needs and behaviours of their target guests, and how we might encourage repeat stays. Based on this, we developed three overarching ideas that the hotel experience would be built upon: Community and Membership; Personalisation and Seamlessness; Fun and Irreverence. We also wanted to address all those little things in hotel stays that didn’t work well and, if fixed, could make a huge difference.
We then set about designing the concepts that would deliver these three big ideas throughout the guest experience and across different customer journeys. From a couple staying for a long weekend, to first time and repeat guests; working closely with Virgin Hotels Executive team we developed signature services for Virgin Hotels, the things that would become synonymous with the brand and would keep people coming back.
Our service design approach developed a guest experience that brings together the small and big ideas to create a uniquely Virgin guest experience; Staff are trained to be able to give local tips and knowledge at the drop of a hat and technology allows customers to interact with their hotel via their smartphone and an in-room personal assistant. This includes booking your favourite room with one click, controlling the TV or the air conditioning or making easy reservations.
“Branson’s Virgin Group is trying to give business travellers an alternative to large impersonal hotels.”
“In classic Virgin style, their hotel experience takes the assumed ordinary details and makes them something extraordinary and unexpected”
Virgin Hotel Reader’s Choice Award 2016 Conde De Nast Magazine, 2016
Most Visionary Hotel 2015 Business Travel Awards, Entrepreneur magazine, 2015
Best Hotel in the United States 2016 Conde De Nast Traveller Awards, 2016
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